Brett Morris, president and COO of Super League Gaming, is aiming to transform conventional movie theaters into the modern-day arcade.
“All the founders of Super League Gaming are of that generation where we grew up in an arcade that wasn’t just a place to compete but also a place to hang out with your friends and socialize,” Morris said at the event’s launch Sept. 16 at Cinemark Playa Vista. “Today’s kid doesn’t have that. They may chat online a little bit but there isn’t that real face-to-face interaction.”
Super League Gaming is the first in-theater video game league. Gamers will come in once a week during the six-week league to compete side by side on laptops playing Minecraft while a third-person whole world view is projected onto the theater screen allowing the players a potential strategic vantage and also welcoming spectators.
“Nationwide and worldwide they are running ‘watch events’ where you actually go and watch a League of Legends tournament or a World of Warcraft tournament but it’s just watching,” Morris said. “We’ve taken gaming and created a live event based on it, and not just a live watch event but a live participatory event. A hundred or so kids with their friends, their foes, their family all sitting together within the movie theater competing in a live event just like a little league game or a soccer match.”
For James Meredith, the head of marketing and communications for Cinemark, bringing in gaming made sense as theaters move more toward being overall entertainment destinations.
“Our core demo that spends time in our theaters are also gamers,” Meredith said. “It made all the sense in the world to reach out and provide the theater as a venue for gaming. The theater itself has turned into more of what I’d call an entertainment destination. You can come for movies, first and foremost, but you can come for other options like gaming, sporting events, concerts, the Met Opera and it gives us the ability to take all the entertainment options available and create one place where people can enjoy multiple options.”
Super League Gaming’s Fall Tournament begins Oct. 5 will be held in more than 30 major cities.